Lifestyle & wellbeing to help with incontinence

 

Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts added strain on the pelvic floor muscles – bad news for stress incontinence.

Non-prescription bladder support
The initial treatment option for urge incontinence is bladder training, where you’ll learn techniques from a continence adviser to increase the period between feeling the need to wee and doing so. Your GP can make the appropriate referral.

There are products available claiming to help deal with stress incontinence:

  • IncoStress® A non-allergenic medical grade silicone device worn internally for up to 8 hours a day, designed by women. Available online and from Boots.
  • Poise Impressa, removable bladder supports that come in different sizes to help stop bladder leaks before they happen. Inserted into the vagina like a tampon, lifting and supporting the urethra to help prevent urine from leaking. A U.S product available online. We haven’t tried it but let us know if you do.

Strengthening your pelvic floor
Kegel Exercises
 strengthen your pelvic floor. To identify the target muscles, stop the flow of urine midstream and feel the muscle action kick in. (Don’t stop urination mid-stream too often, as this weakens muscles over time).

Once identified, find time to relax and contract these muscles on an empty bladder. Try out the following:

  • Lie on your back or sit on a chair, relaxing and contracting your pelvic muscles. Here's how:
  • Tense your pelvic floor muscles around your anus, you're looking for that clenching feeling of not wanting to break wind, moving forward clench vaginal muscles as if trying to keep a wee in. Squeeze both together for a count of 5.
  • Relax for 5 and start again, doing a set of 10
  • Try to do this three to four times a day.
  • The better you get, the faster exercise you can squeeze, ie. holding and releasing at 2 seconds.

Kegel8 produce a range of medically approved electronic pelvic floor toners. 'Designed by women who understand, the Kegel8 locates and exercises weak pelvic floor muscles automatically, making them strong again'. With 70% success rate for stress incontinence in clinical trials they could help deal with an issue that's no laughing matter. Vaginal weights and cones can also help.

Check out our vlog with Jane, ex-opera singer and singing coach, on how she teaches Pelvic Floor Exercise.

Smartphone reminder apps.
Download the NHS Squeezy app. Designed by women's health physiotherapists who specialise in this area. It's a fantastic free resource to remind women how and when to do their pelvic floor exercises.Now no excuses to forget! Or, Swedish, pelvic floor training programme, Tät, is designed to remind you when and what exercises you should be doing to strengthen your muscles. It may reduce the severity of your symptoms in about 3 months.

Pretty Clever Pants

They do what they say on the tin, stylish knickers, Pretty Clever Pants absorb 'life's little leaks!', with an absorbent panel that wicks away moisture taking away the need to wear a pad, you'll feel so much more comfortable.

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Laura Llewellyn